After arduous preparation for a year, the Amendments to the Animal Protection Act (APA) will be proposed on October 1, 2013!
This is a translation of posting from KARA: 동참요청 – 1년간의 치밀한 준비의 결실! 10월 1일 동물보호법 개정안이 발의됩니다! 9/25/2013
1. The result of a beautiful collaboration! Providing direction for our nation’s APA!
After a year-long preparation, amendments to the APA will be proposed at the National Assembly on September 26, 2013. This proposed amendment is the result of a lot of hard work and sweat from many organizations. The Attorneys’ Network for Animals and Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA)conducted APA research meetings. Five sessions of the National Assembly panel discussions co-sponsored by KARA/Green Party/lawmakers and the working level/promotion committee meetings that included experts from various fields were held.
While drafting this amendment with the Attorneys’ Network for Animals as leads, we reviewed the history of the amendments to our APA and also extensively referenced the APA of other countries.
To draft a bill that takes current reality into consideration and provides the necessary protection and welfare regulations, we analyzed recent animal cruelty cases to identify areas of laws that need change, even referencing child welfare acts.
At the last panel discussion meeting in April, a panelist who has been monitoring the history of the enactment and the amendments of APA said, “This is the most beautiful amendment I have ever seen so far. Even if not all the provisions in this bill pass, this bill has a great significance in that it provides a direction for our nation’s APA to move forward.” This encouragement became a big source of strength for us.
2. This amendment to the APA is our nation’s first joint initiative that transcends political parties!
We are deeply grateful to the national assembly members, Jeong-Lim Moon (Saenuri party), Sang-Jeong Sim (Justice Party), Sun-Mi Jin (Democratic Party) and Myung-Sook Han (Democratic Party), who for the first time in our nation’s history have transcended political parties to sponsor this amendment to the APA.
We are also truly appreciative of the many lawmakers who have co-sponsored this bill.
Furthermore, we are indebted to the Green party and their office, speakers and panelists, APA reform committee members and advisers who participated in the five panel discussions. But most of all, we are deeply grateful to the Attorneys’ Network for Animals for their year-long hard work and research, and the great sacrifices they made, even putting their own livelihoods aside to draft this amendment.
As a result of the shared noble common goals and the beautiful cooperation of all, we were able to achieve a remarkable joint initiative that transcended all political lines.
Prior to the completion of our bill starting around the end of last year, several lawmakers proposed partial amendments to the APA and were successful in passing some of the provisions that are similar to what we have been working on. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them as well.
All provisions of the bill are important. We will first divide them into ten categories and introduce them here. Let’s take a look at the contents of the amendment.
1. The name of the law will change from ‘Animal Protection Act’ to ‘Animal Welfare Act’!!
The new name ‘Animal Welfare Act’ carries our hope that we will go beyond just protection to provide animals with a better living environment with greater assurance for their right to live. Animal Welfare Act will not only protect animals from abuse, it will also provide a foundation that will allow for more provisions to prevent cruelty to animals by increasing the level of standards of welfare.
2. Human responsibility as a principle: from recommendations to obligations
This law is based on the principle of human responsibility towards animals (Amendment Article 1 Section 1). Accordingly, this bill proposes new mandatory provisions as well as raising the level of existing ones from ‘recommended’ to ‘mandatory’. This bill addresses the animals’ basic needs and the responsibilities of the nation and its local governments to meet their needs.
- The basic principles of animal protection becomes mandatory.
- Establishment of national plans to protect animals in case of a large-scale disaster becomes mandatory.
- Creating suitable environment to maintain the health of animals becomes mandatory.
- Codes of compliance during transport of animals becomes mandatory.
- Local governments must investigate and prosecute animal abuse cases.
- Local governments and law enforcement agencies must dispatch agents to the scenes of animal cruelty and conduct investigations.
- Animals used for testing must be protected from unnecessary suffering and diseases.
- Ethics committees must be notified of any animal experiments that violate ethical principles and the committees must investigate these cases.
- Farm animal breeding environments must be created with the consideration of the animals’ welfare.
- Animal protection inspectors must respond to animal abuse cases.
3. Widen the range of animals protected
More animals will be protected by law! The new bill opens up the possibility to protect not only all vertebrates with a developed nervous system capable of feeling pain, but even the invertebrates. Research study shows that invertebrate animals can also feel pain.
4. Provisions prohibiting animal cruelty will become more concrete, refined, and strengthened
Article 8 of the current APA (Prohibition of cruelty to animals, etc.) becomes significantly strengthened, refined, and departmentalized.
Through these changes, the cruel abuses from which the companion animals, stray cats, and the animals that live around us suffer can be prevented and punished. The definition and the range of animal abuse will be expanded to include treating negligence and neglect as the same as direct animal abandonment.
Punishable animal cruelty offenses:
- Killing by cruel methods such as burning
- Inflicting physical or psychological pain by physical methods (tools • heat • electricity •water, etc.)
- Chemical methods (chemical• drugs, etc.), dropping animals from high places
- Dragging animals by car, motorbikes, etc
- Confining animals in a small space where activity is severely limited for a long period of time
- Conducting obedience training or drills that accompany physical or psychological pain on animals such as unjustifiable training
- Inflicting physical pain on animals by using them for videos • TV recording, advertising •commercials • animal shows
- Frequent transporting of animals from place to place and forcing human contact on them or for the use of them for exhibitions such as mobile zoos.
- Training animals to become aggressive or testing their aggressiveness using other animals as bait.
- Offering animals as prizes or giveaways for gambling • entertainment • lottery • competition, etc.
- Use of animals for gambling
5. Provide concrete measures to protect animals from abusers
The provisions below do not exist in current law. However, in order to protect animals from their abusers, they are absolutely necessary as well as the ‘prohibition of cruelty to animals’ provisions.
- Allow the emergency quarantine of animals from abusers when there is no time to wait for the police to arrive at the scene and the local governments must care for the animals in quarantine.
- An animal abuser cannot claim ownership of the abused animal.
- Animal abusers cannot request the return of abused animals while an investigation or trial is in progress.
- In order to prevent the recurrence of abuse, the animal is to be confiscated and taken away from the abuser.
- Animal abusers must be restricted from owning animals or working in professions involving animals.
This bill is particularly significant in that it provides direction and basic principles for farm animals and for those used in testing. These will be the cornerstone that can lead to more improved amendments in the future.
6. Only animal testing that follows animal welfare principles will be allowed
- As a life being, animals used in testing should be treated ethically • humanely, and should not merely be considered as a tool for experiments.
- Animal testing must be minimized and the principles of “minimization of animal testing that inflicts pain” and “the minimization of pain” are also added.
- Animal testers must assure the welfare of animals used for testing by specifying the measures to be taken for the welfare of animals and by supporting the development of alternative methods to animal testing.
- From the test planning stage, animal testers must submit a test plan that takes animals’ welfare into consideration to the ethics committee for their review.
- Animal testing ethics committees must report any unethical animal testing to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister must investigate violations without delay.
7. Bill proposes welfare principles for farm animals as well
- The provisions regarding ‘the certification of animal welfare farm’ as well as the provisions improving the welfare of all farm animals is expanded.
- The details necessary to improve the welfare of farm animals is concretized and the basic principles for the welfare of farm animals are presented.
- The humane treatment of animals must be incorporated into the practices of breeding facilities, and amputations for purposes other than preventing or treating diseases must be made unlawful.
- Confining pigs in crates where they are not allowed to change position
- Confining chickens in overly crowded spaces where they cannot spread their wings
- Shining bright lights continuously beyond normal times at breeding farms
- Forcing artificial molting or injecting growth hormone to hens
- Other breeding methods that are contrary to the animal welfare
8. Restrict who can buy or sell animals
We cannot overemphasize the fact that setting strict standards for businesses dealing with animals is the starting point of protecting animals.
- In addition to the current standards for animal cemeteries, sales, importation, and breeding, the new bill requires animal transportation and training services to include the necessary facilities and personnel.
- Because the welfare of animals must be considered a top priority in the process of breeding and in the selling of them to the end customers, all businesses involved must be registered. Based on the severity of the punishment imposed for animal cruelty convictions, the time period banning the operation of the offending business increases to 2-5 years.
- In order to prevent irresponsible transactions of buying and selling animals that treat the animals as if they were objects, selling animals to children under 14 years of age not accompanied by a guardian and communications •telemarketing solicitation will be banned.
9. Qualification of animal protection inspectors and honorary inspectors will be raised and their responsibilities will be increased
Public-private cooperation is essential for today’s animal protection. If animal protection inspectors and honorary inspectors can perform their duties effectively, the reality of our nation’s animal protection can vastly improve.
- To help inspectors perform their duties properly and sharpen their knowledge related to their duty of animal protection and welfare, annual training of animal protection inspectors will be required.
- Animal protection inspectors must take measures to rescue, protect, and quarantine abused animals.
- Specific, concrete information about animal care centers and animal welfare farms, information about the responsibilities of animal protection inspectors and honorary inspectors must be published regularly.
10. More severe penalties. Prevention of animal abuse, education and even rehabilitation of animal abusers!
This bill increases the severity of all penalties related to the ‘prohibition of cruelty to animals’ provisions. It also proposes to create joint penal provisions that hold not only individuals but also their organizations responsible. Furthermore, it seeks to educate and rehabilitate to prevent recurrence.
There are issues that are not included in this bill because of the barrier of reality or in order to approach it with other laws. These issues include the complete ban of using animals for fighting, and the banning of and the regulation of painful and unnecessary animal testing for cosmetics.
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